This fact was brought to mind by this recent post by Bashiok:
Official Blizzard Quote:
I know most of you aren't into the whole WoW thing but if you visit the below link, which is a pretty awesome promotion in general, and scroll down there's a link to listen to the song 'Invincible' which is used somewhere in Icecrown (Arthas' lair). It's extremely WoW in flavor, but I think maybe gives a good sense of the quality and composition that we're at now.
Hopefully the little snippets on the Diablo III site give a good impression that the Diablo music is in fact Diablo music. And comparing Diablo III, to WoW, to StarCraft II there's an obvious care and attention to each game and the settings and emotion and tone.
When compared, the sample from World of Warcraft (linked to in the above post), and this sample from Diablo III, prove to be incredibly distinct. The sample from World of Warcraft has a much more epic feel, due to the choirs in the background. The instruments themselves also contribute to this feel, listen closely and you will pick up oncellos, violins, trumpets, and other such orchestral instruments. It's this grand orchestra that helps to contribute to the epic atmospheric music of Warcraft, an atmosphere which fits the franchise like a glove.
However, the sample from Diablo III conveys a much creepier, gothic feel through to the listener. It uses odd, perhaps even unconventional sounds to produce a very unique sound. Cellos were the only actual instruments I could pick up, along with a multitude of various percussion, and synthesized sounds. Granted, I don't have a musical ear, so perhaps those of you with musical talent could shed some light on what could have went into making this piece.
To further show the musical distinction of the three franchises, is this theme from Starcraft. At first listen, you can quickly pick up on more modern sounds in the music. Synthesizers, electric guitars, drum kits, and many other more modern sounding instruments make up this piece. Which, of course, makes sense. It would be rather odd for a futuristic game such as Starcraft to use classical instruments such as the violin or trumpet.
Basically, context is key in the music. For Warcraft, which is generally high fantasy, epic sounds and music styles are used. For Diablo, their gothic fantasy franchise, odd, creepy sounds are used to compose the atmospheric music. For Starcraft, their futuristic RTS, it seems that more modern sounding instruments are brought together to form music that conveys a feeling of technological (or biological, in the case of the Zerg) conquest.
Official Blizzard Quote:
That's my feeling anyway. I work here I guess it's hard to take my word as anything but towing the company line but really I've always loved the music in Blizzard games and it just keeps getting better and better.
The truth could not be said any clearer, the music Blizzard produces has definitely evolved over the years, and improved by leaps and bounds.
When you compare music from Diablo I, and the music from Diablo III, it is quickly realized that the quality has improved. More sounds are able to be layered on top of each other, said sounds can be tweaked and modified to better convey atmosphere, and the sounds are made more crisp by improved recording and playback technology.
So, even if we are afraid of a foreign art style encroaching on our beloved franchise, we can rest assured that the music will not only improve, but will stay within the realm of gothic fantasy that we've all come to know and love.